(ABC4) – About 80 incarcerated individuals at the Utah State Prison in Draper will have the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday, January 25.
The Utah Department of Corrections (UDC) says these individuals, all over the age of 70, were personally screened by the clinical services team.
“The initial rollout of the vaccine begins at USP as the most high-risk and medically compromised individuals are housed there due to proximity to USP’s infirmary and local hospitals,” UDC says.
UDC says the Utah Department of Health and the Salt Lake County Health Department is helping to provide these initial doses.
“A full-scale rollout of the vaccine within our correctional facilities is planned as part of the second-phase of the Utah Department of Health’s three-phase approach,” according to UDC.
UDC says they are working to distribute a newsletter, seen below, to distribute to every incarcerated individual over the coming days.
The newsletter, signed by Executive Director of the UDC Brian Nielson, says “all UDC staff who interact with those incarcerated or on supervision with the State had the opportunity to be vaccinated” earlier this month.
“Incarcerated individuals are set to be vaccinated as part of phase two in the Utah Department of Health’s plan. While the vaccine is not mandatory, we are hopeful that many of you will take advantage of this opportunity. Such steps will help us return to normal operations,” Nielson says.
He continues, saying that “while a return to normal will be gradual, we are excited that video visiting is close to roll out and testing is just about complete.”
A Jan. 21 update says visiting is on hold until mid-February.
The newsletter goes on to offer answers to frequently asked questions related to the vaccine, like “How do vaccins protect me?” and “Why should I get vaccinated?”
As of Jan. 20, over 320 UDC staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, with 251 having recovered. Over 2,970 inmates have tested positive with over 2,270 recovering.
Officials say a total of 15 inmates – 12 at USP in Draper and three at the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison – have died from COVID-19 complications.